Monthly Archives: April 2015

Oil Baths

Each of us has special memories of our growing up years – and as we plod through our lives now, we do remember those days, when life was so simple and uncomplicated.

One of the most wonderful memories I have is about a ritual that our family followed on Sundays. Most people in our part of the world probably had the same ritual too.

Sundays were ‘oil bath’ days. The day went something like this. We woke up at 7 a.m. and had a light breakfast. After this, my siblings and I would sit on a straw mat on the floor. Our mom would then warm oil in a small wok, to which basil leaves, pepper corn, raw rice, hibiscus flowers etc were added.

Once the oil was warm enough to say ouch! when it touched the palm of your hand, the oil massage would start.

As our mom massaged our scalps with warm oil, our whole body would relax, and eyes automatically close – it was pure bliss. Our hands, legs and faces were also massaged with oil.

We had some old frocks that we wore for this activity. We were asked to soak- in the oil for a good 45 minutes. So, during this time we sat and played all kinds of word games.

We took turns to have our baths in hot water, washing away the oil with heavenly-smelling shikakai powder.

Once all the kids were done, the adults did the same.

Oil bath days had special menus, and the food was served piping hot. The whole family would sit and eat together.

After the heavy meal, my Dad would play 70s music; the deep voices of the singers lulling us into sleep.

We would wake up refreshed and relaxed, ready to have some hot cocoa or if we were lucky, a little cup of coffee.

Oil bath days were so special. They rejuvenated our minds and bodies, and also strengthened family bonds.

Where did the years fly?

She is in a hurry, always in a hurry these days, with a hundred things to do and projects to finish.

She looks into the shoe cupboard for her sandals; her patience wears thin, as she peers into the jumble of leather and canvas and laces.

I offer her mine, one of my flat sandals and she throws me a grateful look, but her feet are too big for my sandals, at least two sizes too big.

My daughter, when did she grow?

It seems like yesterday, when she was the size of my lower arm. Only six months back she fit into my sandals…wow, my throat catches as  she breezes out, her bag slung across her shoulder, the last remnants of breakfast still in her mouth, books in hand, her mind already away in her world of school and friends and projects.

The cute chubby girl, who loved Barbies and playing with doll houses, is now belting out pop, jazz and Bollywood numbers. The giggles are now replaced by LoLs.

There was a time when her world was our home and I, her mother, her ‘go to’ person for every silly thing.

Now, while I am still the ‘go to’ person, her universe has expanded. It is colourful and vibrant, filled with busy days, lots of fun, lots of study and lots of music and talking to friends.

I wait for this girl to come back from school and share her day with me. At her own time. She comes into the kitchen and starts a conversation. She sits at the small kitchen table and chit chats. She just wants me to listen. Her words meander with her thoughts – she shares pages from her day, laughs at funny things that happened and enjoys the food I’ve made.

Now, she pauses, and asks, “So, how was your day?”

We talk about my day. Then she goes back into her world of books, music and friends.

We go out for girls’ evenings out. We shop, we eat out and come back happy.

So much has changed, as my little angel has grown into this beautiful young girl with a great sense of humour.

She still has time for the big hug before she goes to bed, an all-enveloping hug thay says it all.

I am so proud to be her mother.

What’s in a Nose?

Books talk about aquiline noses, Greek noses, up-turned noses, and 11 other types of noses, but have you heard of a rain-predictor nose?

That’s a first, I’m sure.

This fact would have been a great surprise to me too, but for the fact that the said nose belongs to yours truly.

The realization that one possesses talent for art, music and dance is great,

But what does one do with such a skill; where one’s nose can predict, often quite accurately, when it’s going to rain!

I realized this after careful observation. Over the last couple of years I’ve noticed that whenever I’ve been in humid weather or in any coastal town or city, my nostrils get mildly blocked.

However, on certain days the block is complete. I’ve always observed that on such days, there is definitely a heavy downpour later in the day. As the rain abates, my block usually clears up. Strange, but true.

While no meterology department is looking to hire me for sure, I love to surprise guests and family members with my predictions, which are quite accurate.

When my husband’s parents visited us last year, my father in law always checked with me before stepping out.

Somedays we would wait to see if my prediction came true…and as we sat down for our afternoon coffee, the rain usual fell in torrents and we laughed at this strange rain-predictor that’s my nose.

The Arranged Marriage – A short story

Hundreds of calls had flown between the two houses. What started off with horoscope matching, education, career and family-history gleaning, had finally culminated in this meeting of the boy and the girl.

It was a rainy day, as each came equipped with a mental folder of facts about the other – family, education, a few pictures, facebook profile, siblings and where they worked blah blah blah. Almost like a blind date, but with the burden of family expectations added to it.

Understandably, each of them was nervous. They met at a fine dining restaurant on a Sunday afternoon. Each was dressed for impact.

The initial hellos were uneasy, sudden bouts of nervousness washing over each of them.

The young man started talking about the weather…a safe topic. They dissected the weather, as the rain that lashed outside watched the young couple.

They placed their order, each agreeing readily, when the other recommended a dish.

As the food warmed their stomachs, their conversation meandered through each of their childhoods, punctuated by pauses that talked about their favourite books and hobbies, and then back again to their jobs, all the time trying to ask themselves if each could spend a lifetime with the other.

Then the topic moved to books, soon an animated discussion was on about favourite authors and all time specials…as the afternoon Sun peeped in to see the young couple talking.

By dessert they had unwound enough to laugh without being conscious of themselves. Empty tables watched them as they sipped their coffee.

The car’s drone heard them discussing their favourite music.

Twilight watched them at the beach, playfully laughing like old friends.

The stars twinkled in delight as the first text messages flew between their mobiles.

The calendar watched as days and dates were worked out.

Cinema screens watched them eating popcorn together.

Their families watched in happiness as they fell in love.

Coffee or Tea ?

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Image courtesy – Wikipedia

People have likes, dislikes and  ambiguities. However, when it comes to coffee and tea, most identify themselves as either coffee drinkers or tea drinkers. I don’t know too many people, who like both tea and coffee with the same fervour.

I love coffee. Period. The choice is as easy as black or white, maybe a few wisps of grey, when one of my friends serves me a cup of tea that’s laced heavily with fresh ginger or lemon.

I make a mean cup of coffee, but my tea making skills …well, what’s that? Enough said.

My husband and daughter are the midways, they relish both coffee and tea, so I’ve passed on my ‘barely-there’ tea-making skills to my daughter, so she can take care of her Dad.

So, why am I telling you all this? My tea making skills were put to the test. Sigh!

Two of my friends had come home to complete a community project that we were working on.

I’d made some spring rolls and decided to make coffee after we’d finished our work.

When I asked if I could serve coffee, one of them said she would prefer tea. The other friend also said that she wouldn’t mind tea, probably to spare me the extra effort.

Hmmm…tea???? My mind jolted awake…but my head, the traitor, nodded vigorously, aided by my mouth that added, “Sure.”

My tea jar had been refilled with a fresh box of tea leaves from India.

I set the water to boil and added the tea. As it boiled and bubbled, the aroma seemed okay, but when I added milk, the colour remained white, with a mere hint of brown.

I sweated…what could I do? This looked like milk. Oh dear. I added  a few more spoons of tea (I know, that’s not the way to make tea).

I called out to my friends with a fake laugh, “Girls, I am serving you white tea ok?”

So, I served it with all the dignity I could muster.

One friend sipped and said, “It’s ok. Must be one of those that do not infuse colour. It’s quite ok.”

The other friend looked pained after the first sip. To her ‘tea’ probably meant what ‘coffee’ means to me, so I totally understood the expression.

I love coffee.

The Joys of Writing

My son has been given a school project to complete; he has to write an essay about ‘Aliens in the backyard’, as part of his creative writing course.

He spends an hour writing out a draft and wants to read it out to me.  What hits me is that his eyes are shimmering with the excitement of what he has written.  He stands up for effect.  He reads out his essay, about a grotesque looking alien (boys will be boys), with multiple eyes, ears and long hands, whose battery gets charged by jumping up and down on a bouncing trampoline that’s supposedly in our backyard. Anyone jumping on it automatically charges the alien’s battery, so my son does his bit.  The story has elements of adventure, love, kindness and mystery.  He finishes reading and looks up at me with glittering eyes and an expectant smile.

I tell him that his essay is very well written and hug him.  He is very happy and runs away to make his final draft.  I remain seated, mulling over his essay.

My son’s excitement was palpable because he re-lived the story he had written, as he read it out to me.  I hope, that there’s a writer lurking in him.

Then I ask myself, does my writing give me such unadulterated joy?  Do I enjoy what I have created. Yes, most times yes, but the glee that I saw in my son’s face, I don’t see in mine.  Is it because we are older and can’t think like kids or let do we allow ourselves only limited leeway for enjoyment, because of deadlines and other commitments?

I still remember some of the essays I wrote in high school and in university. They still make me smile. I have not had the heart to throw some of them – handwriting that slants right on yellowed paper, with words and thoughts from another time. I get brief flashes of the person I was, and realize how I have evolved – both as a person, and in my writing.

Writing is an extension of our thoughts, captured and chiseled into manageable sentences.  Once the sentences have been composed, the words don’t meander off the page, like our thoughts do. That’s the beauty of writing. It helps refine our thoughts and articulate them in well-defined forms, giving us joy for years afterward.

The Liebster Award

My sincere thanks to Simpleheadgirl for nominating my blog for The Liebster Award.

Please do go and check out her blog at www.simpleheadgirl.com, for lovely posts.  I love the tag line of her blog – ‘Do what you love’.  I enjoy reading all her posts.  I loved the one I read yesterday titled ‘She’.

Heartfelt thanks, once again, for the nomination.  I have answered all your questions below.

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Q.1.What do you love doing the most?

Reading books

Q.2.One novel you would like to recommend me and why?

If you have not read it already, I would ask you to read ‘Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand, because, to me, the book symbolizes the perfection that a man can reach in his chosen line of work, against all odds and without compromising his integrity,

Q.3.Your idea behind this blog?  

Through ‘Simple moments of life’, my attempt is to write about everyday moments that happen in all our lives, sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, sometimes strange; moments that actually form the mosaic of our lives.
Q.4.One song that changes your bad mood?

I love old Hindi songs – Do lafzon ki hai, Deewana hua badal and hundreds more……
Q5. What is the best moment of your life?

When I became a mom
Q6.What is Love for you?

To me love is putting somebody else’s needs ahead of yours and giving your all, without any expectation.
Q7. One special thing about you?

I am an optimist
Q8. Favourite quote?

‘Be aggressively good’ – Swami Chinmayananda
Q9.Your Dream Job?

Would be something creative – involving writing and digital media

Q10.Your Favourite food?

I like spicy food – Indian, Chinese, Mexican and Thai

I would like to nominate the following blogs for the Liebster Award:

1.https://adicanada.wordpress.com

2.www.aamrits.wordpress.com

3.http://aspiringwriter22.wordpress.com

4.www.astewaygattew.wordpress.com

5.www.encouraginglife.co

6.www.itsphblog.wordpress.com

7.www.justponderin.com

8.http://adivir.wordpress.com

9.www.leticialullabies.wordpress.com

10.www.mariezhuikov.wordpress.com

I enjoy reading all your blogs and look forward to reading more.  There is no compulsion to accept  if you have a no-award policy.

Here are my 10 questions for you:

1. Define yourself in a sentence.

2. Who’s your favourite author?

3. What kind of music do you like?

4. What gives you the greatest happiness?

5. What’s your dream holiday destination?

6. To you, blogging is __________________

7. Whom do you draw inspiration from?

8. What’s your favourite snack?

9. Your all time favourite movie?

10. Two things about yourself that you love.

Cheers,

Nimi

Rules :
Once you are nominated, make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
include the Liebster Award sticker in the post too.

Nominate 10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
Ensure all of these bloggers have less than 200 followers.
Answer the ten questions asked to you by the person who nominated you, and make ten questions of your own for your nominees.
Lastly, COPY these rules in the post.
ALL THE NOMINEES ARE FREE TO ACCEPT OR REJECT THE NOMINATION.